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How to Apply to SCCO

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Everything you need to know about applying to SCCO is right here. Use the links below to find what you're looking for and if you have questions, please review our frequently asked questions or contact us.

Important Dates + Deadlines

SCCO uses Rolling Admissions so it is best to apply early. Check below for specific dates and details.

The 2024-25 cycle will be open from July 1, 2024 - March 15, 2025 to be considered for the class that begins August 2025. To meet the Fall 2025 deadline, comply with the OptomCAS deadlines for submission of all requirements, including undergraduate transcripts. 

The OAT and other standardized tests must have been taken by March 15, 2024 to be considered for our final Interview Date in April. The earliest test date accepted is July 1, 2020.

It is not necessary to have completed all prerequisite requirements or your degree/ minimum number of units before you apply. Applying with missing prerequisite requirements or degree/ minimum units will not affect your competitiveness as long as you are on track to complete all academic requirements no later than August 5, 2024, for Fall 2024 matriculation.

Application + Admissions Process Overview

Below are the required elements for your OptomCAS application. Please read the information carefully, including any supplemental resources provided to make sure you're prepared to submit a strong application. For a comprehensive article that includes tips, timelines, and recommendations regarding the application, visit SCCO’s Admissions Blog:

SCCO utilizes OptomCAS, the centralized application service for all optometry programs in the US and Puerto Rico:

SCCO requires a supplemental application in addition to the centralized application. The supplemental essay questions are included in the OptomCAS application; therefore, when you have completed the OptomCAS application, you have also completed the supplemental application. 

To apply, you will submit all official transcripts to OptomCAS for every college, university, or professional school attended. If you have foreign transcripts, they will need to be evaluated before you have them sent to OptomCAS. After you have been accepted, you will need to have all official transcripts sent directly to MBKU.

Effective starting 2023-24 cycle, SCCO requires two LORs. An Optometrist or Ophthalmologist must complete one recommendation, but an Optometrist is preferred. The other source may be selected by the applicant. Appropriate sources could be an employer (past or present), faculty member (science or otherwise), supervisor where the applicant volunteers, etc. Applicants may submit up to two additional letters for a maximum of four, but only two are required. LORs are submitted by the recommender(s) directly to OptomCAS. Committee letters will be accepted.

The OAT is the preferred test; however, the MCAT and DAT may be substituted. To submit your application through OptomCAS, it is not necessary to have taken the OAT or other standardized tests; however, to advance in the process onto the interview phase, official test scores must be received. In short, you may apply ahead of taking one of these tests, but will not advance in the process until official scores are assessed. Applicants are advised to complete one of these tests before or soon after applying.

We highly recommend shadowing in a few different locations, however, there is no minimum number of shadowing hours. For more information regarding shadowing objectives and our Alumni Shadowing Program, visit the shadowing section of our Admissions blog:

This document will be printed for your interviewer to have in front of them during your interview if you are offered one. We recommend following a standard resume format, 1-2 pages in length, and listing some of the most important things you listed in the "Experiences" section of your application.

Please crop the photo tight to your face before uploading to OptomCAS, similar to how you would for a passport photo.

From the time you hit “submit” on your application, it can take up to four weeks before SCCO receives the verified application from OptomCAS. After we receive your application, you will be prompted via email to pay SCCO’s secondary, non-refundable application fee of $50.00. Payment of this fee initiates the review process.

A criminal background check is required after a provisional acceptance. Please note that a conviction will not automatically disqualify a candidate from admission. For more information, please see Note for All Applicants Regarding Criminal History. Prior to licensure, each state board will also review a CBC. The California State Board of Optometry has a FAQ if you would like more information: Applying for Licensure with a Conviction or Past Disciplinary Action.

How You'll Be Evaluated

SCCO conducts holistic reviews through two serial “qualifying rounds.” Once both rounds are successfully completed, an applicant is offered a seat in the incoming class of approximately 100 students. Click here to learn more about what SCCO looks for in Competitive Applicants.

Everything is reviewed thoroughly during this evaluation. To advance, academic qualifications must be met. We base this on the strength of your GPAs and standardized test scores, while also factoring in things such as academic patterns and trends, time spent on employment or experiences while also completing coursework, etc. Competitive applicants are advised to have an overall GPA of at least 3.00 and OAT section scores of at least 300, however, all applications will be reviewed. 

Once you successfully pass the first round, you will be invited for an interview. It is through this process that we assess your personal and professional potential. SCCO conducts "open-file" interviews, so interviewers prepare by reviewing your entire application, including your grades, test scores, experiences, essays, resume/ curriculum vitae (CV), and letters of recommendation.

Interview & Acceptance

2024-25 Cycle:

The 2024-25 cycle will be open from July 1, 2024 - March 15, 2025 to be considered for the class that begins August 2025. To meet the Fall 2025 deadline, comply with the OptomCAS deadlines for submission of all requirements, including undergraduate transcripts. 

We will be posting our 2024-25 Interview & Review Cutoff Dates in the coming weeks! 


Application Process FAQs

We have a full schedule for you on interview day. We want you to meet people and see the campus and get a sense of student life. This is why we prefer in-person interviews. We do understand that travel can be difficult, so we offer one virtual interview date in February. These spots are reserved for candidates who live greater than 250 miles away or more than a 5-hour drive from campus and are on a first-come, first-served basis.

The in-person interview day is scheduled from 8am-2:30pm. You are welcome to bring up to 3 adult guests with you. Once you are offered an interview, you will be able to select your date, register any guests and get the schedule for the day.

If you are not offered an interview within the posted timeframe, we will inform you of your application status. Your status could be denied, placed on hold (with reasons provided), or still considered for a future interview invitation.

If you are offered an interview, you have the option to sign up for the upcoming interview date, or the following month. Interview days do fill up and we encourage you to interview as soon as you are able. Be sure to monitor your email regularly, especially following when you submit your application. Once a date is full, you will be given the option of interviewing on the next available date. We do make a waitlist and can notify you if a space becomes available.

We will prioritize applications that were received by the posted deadline and are complete (e.g., no mandatory elements are missing, including official test scores). If we have more interview spaces available, we will consider all complete applications available at that time.

If you need more time to decide which school to attend, you may submit the requirements by your deadline to secure your seat, then you have about 2 months before the next deposit installment is due to make your decision.

For applicants admitted prior to May 15th, within 2 weeks of your acceptance you must:

  1. Submit a signed Matriculation Agreement stating your intent to matriculate.

  2. Pay a non-refundable Matriculation Deposit (the entire deposit is a down payment on your Fall tuition):

    1. Pay the full $1500 all at once

    2. Pay $500 by your deadline and choose the installment plan. Two additional $500 deposits are required to finalize acceptance. A payment schedule will be made available at the time of your acceptance.

Anyone admitted after May 15th has 1 week to secure their seat and must pay the entire $1500 deposit in full.

A Criminal Background Check (CBC) is required, conducted through Certiphi to finalize acceptance. Candidates admitted before March 1 must initiate the CBC between February 15th and March 1st. Candidates admitted after March 1st must initiate the CBC by their acceptance deadline, along with the two requirements listed above. Click here for more information about the CBC.

You will want to take your test roughly 1 month prior to the review cut-off date you're shooting for. Below are estimates meant to help you plan your test dates, but as holidays, office closures, and other circumstances out of your control may apply, we recommend giving yourself a buffer if there's a review cut-off date you're eagerly working towards. From the date of your exam, this is the estimated time it takes for official scores to become available for each test:

  • OAT: About 3 weeks
  • MCAT: 30-35 days after the test date.
  • DAT: 3-4 weeks

Once you complete any of these exams, you should receive a printout of your unofficial scores from the testing facility before you leave. We will accept unofficial test scores in order to review an application and possibly offer an interview. Because our interviews are offered several weeks in advance of the interview, typically we have official scores by the time decision notifications take place. If by some chance official scores are not available by the Friday after your interview, we will withhold our final decision until we have received official scores. 

DO NOT EMAIL YOUR UNOFFICIAL SCORES TO SCCO. Complete these 2 steps to submit unofficial scores in your OptomCAS application: 1) In the "Academic History" --> "Standardized Tests" section, manually add your scores. 2) In the "Program Materials"--> "Documents" section, upload the PDF of your scores as an "other" document option. Once you have successfully completed both steps, email to let us know, and we will retrieve your scores.